The relationship between e-tail success and fulfilment
As South African consumers become more comfortable buying retail goods online and amidst predictions that e-tail will scale new heights this year, the role of distribution is an aspect that will increasingly differentiate e-tailers and provide them with a competitive edge.
“The secret of successful e-tailing is to get the order out quickly and delivered in perfect condition,” says Ryno Bekker, General Manager of On the Dot Contract Logistics. “The courier plays a significant role in providing a positive online shopping experience.”
If online purchases are slow on delivery, customers could change their minds and cancel the order. “One of the cornerstones of On the Dot’s offer to our e-tail clients such as Spree, Mr Price, Mr Price Home, is that we’ll leverage our industry understanding and technology to ensure that their customers’ experience results in repeat business and positive word-of-mouth.”
Ryno says that online customers are just as discerning as those visiting physical outlets. “E-tailers have to cater for all types of shoppers. You’ll find the ‘fine-planner’ who shops around online and might be willing to wait a few days for their delivery. Or, the last-minute shoppers who demand after-hours delivery during peak shopping seasons. Their expectation defines their experience.”
One can understand why a distribution partner or courier would work very closely with the e-tailer. On the Dot believes that the perfect fulfilment experience is very much determined by stock availability and delivering the purchase as soon as possible after the client has clicked the ‘buy item’ button.
What happens behind the “buy button” includes well-engineered processes, next-generation technology and performance-driven teams. “The accuracy and complexity of the order is typically determined before stock gets picked from the shelf. Then its packaging and preparing documentation,” explains Ryno. “You do need some flexibility when implementing processes and procedures – roughly translated, the will to make things happen.”
Some examples of this level of flexibility include:
“A customer was attending a wedding in the Northern Cape, but needed her dress delivered to her Cape Town address just before she departed for the wedding. In this instance, the schedule was extremely tight and the risk of failure was high, but we did it!” says Ryno. “Making special arrangements on the run are part and parcel – excuse the pun! – of an ordinary day in the world of e-tail.
“The customer believes that he or she is the only one in the queue – an aspect of common ground for online and bricks and mortar customers. The e-tailers that subscribe to the tried and tested ‘customer is king’ mantra will win the battle for the e-wallets of this new generation of shoppers.”
ISSUED BY: Sherpa Business Communications on behalf of On the Dot
CONTACT: Amelia de Milander at 021 912 4070/083 509 1801 or firstname.lastname@example.org